Thursday, 14 May 2015

North by North Somerset

Art = Happy
Last week was North Somerset Arts Week.  I didn't visit many places, but did go to see an exhibition by the Embroiderer's Guild. I'd bumped into a very friendly lady who was a member, and she'd told me about their workshops and the exhibition in the village hall in Cleeve. The standard of work there was amazing. Some of the stitching was teeny-tiny. I had to get my reading glasses out! (Yes, I am that old.)  Unfortunately I didn't get my camera out, so no photos, but there are obviously some very talented local members.

I am always drawn to textiles of all kinds, so was delighted to discover there was another textile exhibition in Cleeve - this one of weaving. (I really want to try some weaving, and was given a small loom for Christmas, but have yet to get to grips with it.) The extra-added-super-bonus was discovering it was attached to a small wool shop there that I didn't know about! It's called AlterKnit Universe and is utterly charming - full of lovely recycled yarn, locally produced alpaca and cute accessories. Their website is well worth a look.
Dodgy phone photo - yes, that IS my finger, top left.
They even have a yarn swap basket, where you can bring in a ball of yarn and swap it for a different one out of the basket. This might be just what I need, as I have a mountainous stash of yarn, and cannot possibly justify buying more.

My friend Rebecca was also exhibiting as part of the Arts Week, but unfortunately I didn't get as far as Loves Cafe in Weston-super-Mare to see her work. Her quirky prints combine the cute and the strange in a wonderful cartoony style.
Girl and Fawn by Rebecca Weeks
So who needs the big city for art and culture?

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Hello? Is anybody still there?

Now, where was I? I just popped away from my blog for a minute, got distracted, and now it appears three years have gone by. How does that happen?

I'm not really sure. I've posted occasional weirdness on the Kitsch and Curious Facebook page, and I have pinned like the very devil on Pinterest, but I just haven't really been in the mood to write much.
A few finds I just couldn't resist.
But now I'm here again, and I suppose I ought to keep you up to date. Well. a few things have changed since my last post. I've moved house, for one thing. Mr Kitsch and I decided to leave Bristol, and move a few miles away, to the lovely seaside town of Clevedon.  Well, I say 'seaside', but to be more accurate, the dull brown water we can just see from the window of our flat is actually the Bristol Channel. But Clevdon has a beach and a pier and seaweed and gulls and ice-cream, so I think that counts as the seaside. And it has great sunsets...
When we moved in 2013, my plan was to give up selling vintage and concentrate on handmade craft makings. Yes, well...somehow, that didn't happen, as I kept going through my endless collections and thinning them out. The local charity shops received a lot, but I've also sold some too. My Kitsch and Curious Etsy shop has waxed and waned depending on how ruthless I was feeling.

Our flat is small, and I don't have room to keep much stock, so I still intend to wind down the vintage shop eventually. I'll never be a minimalist, but as well as a lack of space, a lack of funds has made me reconsider some of my collecting habits. Paying for a storage unit, as we did for some time, makes you think long and hard about the value of keeping some bits of vintage kitsch, just for the hell of it.
No, I'm not totally reformed...
So, although my shelves are still loaded,  I've reformed my vintage-collecting ways a fair bit in the last couple of years. But when I was feeling hard done by because I couldn't go vintage shopping, I received wonderful random things from people's attics or fabric stashes. Both from friends in blogland and in real life. You know who you are and I thank you.

I'm also immensely grateful for all the other support from family and friends in the past couple of years. Our financial situation has been up and down and is still a bit precarious, but we're still afloat. In some ways, I quite like the simplicity of not being able to spend money - there are less decisions to make. And we're not starving (far from it - as evidenced by my expanding waistline!).

I've been making textile jewellery and some other craft pieces, and I plan to have a new Etsy shop for those very soon. This photo is of some of the prototypes I made last year, but I think the newer ones are better.
So now I feel ready to share my collecting and making again. But is there anybody out there to share with? I'd really appreciate a quick comment or 'Hello', if you've found this blog.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Folk House Flea Market

In my usual absent-minded way, I forgot to mention this in my last blog post. I'll be having a stall at the Folk House Flea Market on Saturday, which is safely in the warm and dry in the centre of Bristol, so we don't have to worry about the weather. Phew! There's usually a nice mix of craft and vintage there, so if you're in Bristol, do pop in!

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Crochet on a Wet Afternoon

It was very disappointing yesterday to discover our local bank holiday fair, the Redland May Fair, had been cancelled. Disappointing, but not altogether surprising, given that we are experiencing the monsoon season round these parts.

So we stayed in, watched some slightly trashy vintage TV (classic Star Trek and The Saint, with Roger Moore eyebrow-acting), and I did some cheerful crochet. I'm really enjoying these bright colours of yarn.

I did some colourful, doodly drawings recently, too. I used a doll's face as a starting point, and drew madly-patterned bodies for them.

It's very therapeutic, setting to with a bunch of felt pens and making patterns. I'd like to develop these further, but, as ever, I'm not sure how...

Friday, 27 April 2012

Giving and Receiving

Why is it that when I have time to take photos, the clouds gather, the rain pours and it goes so very dark? Needless to say, when it's bright, I always have to go and do something else. I've tried in the past to make some sort of photo set-up with artificial light, but it's never very successful. Partly because I just don't have the space or the time to set up anything complicated.

Like most of us, my "photo studio" consists of plonking an object down on the dining table, possibly with a sheet of paper behind it, if I'm trying to look 'professional'. I then take a couple of quick photos before I have to clear it all away again.
So anyway, the bad weather is my excuse for taking so long to show you the lovely notebook that Jane sent me in her giveaway a couple of weeks ago. Thank you so much, Jane! The collage cover is fantastic, and  I only wish my dull photos could do it justice. I especially like that there are photos of Jane herself peeking out from the cover. It makes it even more personal.
As you can see, the back is equally lovely, and so is the inside, as she has used all sorts of different papers. I think it might be too beautiful to use. I have a few notebooks like that! She also sent me some of her wonderful cards, which are clever and fun and stylish.
A few weeks ago, I spotted a marvellous little purse on The Custards blog, and knew that I had to have a go at making one for a friend's birthday. Here's my version.
It has such a pleasing design, as the whole thing unzips to become a length of ribbon, but zips up into a tetrahedron. I gave it to her yesterday, and she spent a lot of time zipping and unzipping it (it's very addictive), so I think it was a success! (Incidentally, the button pattern at the top of the blog is the birthday card I made for her.)
The purse tutorial is here

Things have been quite busy here at the Kitsch Plaza. I have started doing some new (paid!) work, which although it's not creative, will help to put the focaccia on the table. (Well, you don't think I'd have just any bread, do you?)

And I have continued in my struggle to resist spending money, and to stop filling up the house with stuff. I've been quite good, but did buy a couple of things in a charity shop the other week. The little picture book is lovely - I might have to put the whole thing on here. And I think that's my new favourite plate.

Friday, 20 April 2012


It's a funny old world, isn't it? A few weeks ago, I got an email out of the blue, asking to use my strange Silver Jubilee souvenirs in an exhibition in London to mark this year's Diamond Jubilee. It was all because of this blog post on my other blog.

I wasn't entirely sure about it. Did they think I was some sort of royal fanatic, with Prince William pillowcases and Union Jack sheets? Or that I spent my days with a lifesize cut-out of the Duke of Edinburgh and knitted corgis? But the organiser seemed to know where I was coming from, and it was going to be a fun and quirky exhibition, as part of the celebrations in Battersea Park.

Then this week, the emails really started flying. I was asked for some more photos for an article to promote the exhibition in The Evening Standard. It was supposed to appear today. I don't know if it did, but my can of Jubilade has now put in appearance on the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant website!
I was also asked various questions, and to send in a photo of myself posing with my royal collection! I'm afraid I was way too shy for that, and besides, my 'collection' is really just a few random bits of kitsch.

They are asking for more unusual or personal items of royal memorabilia, like craft projects etc., so if you have something you'd like to share, why not contact them?
21/4 Update: They have now put this story on the BBC website, with quotes from me!


Monday, 26 March 2012

A Very Vintage Weekend

Goodness me, I really love the Vintage Jumble! I had a stall there on Saturday, and it was lovely to meet up with all the other 'vintage ladies' and basically swap stuff! There are so many bargains to be found - most of the stuff I bought was 50p a go. How good is that? Quite unintentionally, I seem to have bought quite a lot of pink plastic things. I suppose it's inevitable, given my kitsch leanings.
I also got old cards and children's books, all of them very sweet and charming. I was especially pleased with this Little Indians book, as the pictures are photos of puppets, which I really like.
Then on Sunday, we popped in to visit a Craft and Vintage Fair at M Shed in Bristol.  It was a combination of a Blind Lemon Vintage Fair (which is a  fashion fair) and Magpies and I Vintage & Craft Market. It was a rare treat for me to go to the fashion fair. I don't normally bother, as they charge a few quid to get in, but this weekend it was free. Yay! I really don't like paying to go to fairs (unless they're charity events, of course). I'll pay up to £1, as I know it can be difficult to cover costs. But above that, I resent paying for the privilege of going to see if I want to buy anything. It's like making customers pay to go into a shop. And although Mr Kitsch will put up with following me around while I look at lovely old dresses (for a short while at least), he certainly doesn't want to pay to do it!

The other reason I don't often go to fashion fairs is that I can never find anything nice that fits me. Being big, I usually find the only thing on the rail in my size is a 1960s nylon housecoat or some kind of rough hessian kaftan. Neither of which will do me any favours, believe me. Oh, how I sigh, when I remember my young, slim days, when I used to find so many 1960s dresses at jumble sales. But hey, guess what? Yesterday, I found a nice dress that fitted me! I was a bit doubtful about the yellow at first, but with the white background, it seems to work. I was chuffed to bits! That's it in the photo below, along with a gorgeous little dish I also bought.
I have written before about the healing power of shopping, and how shallow that makes me, but buying this dress lifted my mood no end. Do you ever get like that? The sunshine helps too, of course. For no real reason, I feel like things are getting better. Spring is springing everywhere and I have a happy frock!